Death Valley 2012

Ted and Ella's 2nd Annual Trip to Death Valley with the Northern California Land Rover Club

We had a wonderful time at last year's NCLR Death Valley trip and were looking forward to this year. I requested the week off almost a year in advance. As the trip approached, I made a few upgrades to the rangie including rebuilding the air suspension valve block and compressor, installing a rear differential guard, installing a Warn winch and building an additional shelf over the ARB fridge.

Rob and Beaver also spent many hours preparing their vehicle including finishing up Beaver's front bumper with winch, rear storage units, Rob's rear tire swing-out and armor. We left Elk Grove around 4pm and made the long journey to Ridgecrest arriving about 1am. We stayed in a run-down motel (Vagabond Inn) which I cannot recommend.
A few pics of the morning in Ridgecrest:br>

We met up at Starbucks to fuel up on caffeine and the last bit of civilization for awhile. Then it was on to Trona before heading offroad.

Ella posing on top of my P38 Range Rover:

The group arrived at the first obstacle, just a steep climb. Unfortunately, Andrew's D2 is not able to shift into 4low. With so many Rover mechanics in the mix, they determined that his safety selenoid is bad. They are confident they can fix it at camp once the truck cools down.

An appropriate sign on Andrew's D2:

We entered the valley from the Escape Trail, which apparently was a route some folks took back in 1850, according to this sign:

Here is a photo of my armor after I repainted the front steering guard and front diff guard. You can see my new rear diff guard that Rob made and my factory winch tray with Warn XD9000CE winch. A great find on craigslist.

We cruised through the valley until we came to Goler Wash, our first real obstacle. As we got close, a few motorcylce cruised by.

Before we actually got to the wash, we heard a huge BANG! Rob's left rear brand-new GenIII airspring blew out! Oh no! He dropped to the bumpstops and his P38 was out of commission. We had been planning this trip for months and Isabella, Rob's 9 year old daughter was devastated... Thankfully, his airspring let go before we had done any difficult offroading and he had relatively easy dirt roads to reach pavement. Beaver went with Rob to be sure he would make it home safely. It was a crushing blow to all of us and couldn't believe they had to leave. Our debate about EAS air suspension vs. springs was decided right there on the trail. No more air suspension for our P38s...

After we redistributed some supplies, we tackled Goler Wash. It isn't too difficult, but the water makes it slippery and wheel placement is key. There were a lot of loose rocks and if you don't pick the right line, you make it up. A few needed a quick tug from Chuck's winch to get up.

More adventure awaits!
Death Valley 2012 - Day 2 (coming soon)"